I have limited experience with passive pickups, I always played on actives, so I'd like to discuss this particular topic and if some of you are still experimenting with this.
I know it's mainly a matter of taste but I want to hear your stories and your personal discoveries regarding passive pickups with metal tones/ultra high gain tones.
I'm tweaking my Dimarzio Super3 right now, I gotta say, it's the perfect passive pickup for metal for me right now, sounds great in Basswood. However on Basswood guitars I always tend to turn down the Tone knob, otherwise they always sound too scratchy on palm mutes (high gain) and I like when palm muting sounds fatter without that over the top attack.
I lowered the pickup to avoid the peaky bright sound and raised the pole pieces to add some volume attack and sustain on the 3 big strings, I turn down the tone to 7 and it sound great.
Any of you tried to opposite, getting the pickup as close to the strings (not too close to avoid string pull) and screwing the pole pieces down inside the coils? reason tells me it would sound too fat and with no definition but I'm curious to see if anyone tried it.
Here's what I do with pickups: I put them in a guitar, I eyeball the height against my other guitars, then I play the shit out of them. Go and do likewise, gents.